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July 2019 newsletter

Tēnā koutou katoa,

As we begin a new financial year at the Immigration Advisers Authority (the Authority) it provides a good opportunity for reflection. I continue to be impressed at the huge effort the small team at the Authority put into their work, and equally I am also impressed at the importance of the mission we have, protecting the consumers of migration advice, a mission which is shared by advisers in their work.

The previous year saw the Authority change and grow, with the departure of long-serving IAA stalwart Catherine Albiston and myself stepping into the role (and a short period with an acting Registrar). We have grown in number with more roles established in the assessment of licence applications, and investigation of complaints and offences.

Education and awareness campaigns are out in the marketplace with a new ‘always-on’ campaign via Google ads, driving roughly 16,000 people to the Authority website since early June. We have stepped up and changed the format of webinars and the results and feedback is very positive.

We continue to see a trend of less complaints against advisers forwarded to the Tribunal – and we welcome the renewed enthusiasm of the new tribunal chair; disposing of some older complaint decisions – aiming to make the complaint to decision process more timely and effective in its approach.

The investigation of offences against the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007 (IALA) continues to be busy and the investigators are busy planning for more proactive campaigns for 2019/20.

Following a similar format from the webinar on ‘Ethics in the practice of immigration advice’ we held a webinar on Client Files in June and I look forward to bringing you the webinar on ‘Wellbeing working for you and your clients’. More information on webinars and where to find them is later on in this newsletter.

A couple of recent Tribunal decisions are also highlighted.

Keep well and keep our standards high.

Ngā mihi

Andrew Galloway

Registrar of Immigration Advisers

Andrew Galloway, Registrar of Immigration Advisers

IAA Webinars

The IAA requires all New Zealand licensed advisers, including those who are Registered Migration Agents in Australia, to attend one webinar run by the IAA in 2019. You may count watching a recording of a seminar or other training session towards your CPD hours where that session includes interaction such as questions and answers. However, we do recommend that to get the most value from this activity you get together with at least one other adviser so that you can discuss the content.

To view a webinar, you are required to register your name and email address. Please take a screenshot of your completed registration page for your CPD record before you click “submit”. We are able to verify that you have viewed the recording once you register. We do not issue certificates – the evidence that you registered is sufficient for our purposes.

You can register for upcoming webinars and view previous webinars here.

Upcoming webinar: Wellbeing working for you and your clients

Tracey Sparksman has over 10 years of experience working for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, most recently developing and delivering workplace wellbeing sessions within ACC and Auckland Council.

Tracey will take you through a reflective session where we will explore what wellbeing looks like for each of us and how we can build on the elements of our lives that keep you well. You can reflect on what it looks like when things are tough going and how we can offer support to others when we sense they aren't having the best time. This can be equally applied to you and your teams, but also your clients.

Join us for this session and take action to improve your experience of wellbeing, and increase your knowledge to support others.

Date and time: Wednesday 31 July 2019 at 3pm

Register for this webinar.(external link)

Tribunal decisions

Two recent Tribunal decisions have addressed issues of competency with licensed immigration advisers.

In INZ (Calder) v Shearer [2019] NZIACDT 41, the adviser was found to have relied on unlicensed staff from a recruitment company to provide immigration advice and services (“rubber stamping”), and argued that this conduct was due to her lack of experience in managing such relationships and defining who the client was. The Tribunal did not accept the adviser’s submission and stated “…This is because the client is not to know the adviser is inexperienced in certain types of applications, nor is the client expected to inquire. It is the responsibility of the adviser to decline to accept instructions in areas of practice in which he or she is not confident of meeting the expected professional standard…”.

In Suresh v Elizabeth [2019] NZIACDT 45, the adviser was found to have engaged in rubber stamping and breached other clauses of the Code of Conduct, and argued that she had inadequate training and therefore a lack of knowledge of her professional obligations. The Tribunal came to the conclusion that the adviser “…was responsible for ensuring that her knowledge of both New Zealand immigration criteria and her professional obligations was sufficient to do so… A professional person, whether an immigration adviser or otherwise, is responsible for his or her own professional development… [she] should have familiarised herself with New Zealand legislation and the New Zealand Code, all of which was easily available to her. That was her duty…”.

New decisions are appearing regularly and I encourage you to save the following link as a bookmark.

Read recent Tribunal decisions(external link) on the Justice website.